Sunday, January 4, 2009

Katherine Battersby

1. What's this illustration for?

This is a double page spread from a picture book I wrote and illustrated aimed at children up to 3 years of age. I have only recently finished it, so am currently submitting it.

2. Do you have to wait for a flash of inspiration - how do you start?

I tend to suffer from an overflow of ideas, so I certainly never need to ‘wait’. Often I’ll wake up with a very clear image in my head of a character that demands to get down on paper. Because I both write and illustrate, they tend to inform each other, so while I’m sketching people and places the story often unfolds (and visa versa).

3. How did you get your start as an illustrator?

I’m still very much starting out. I have contributed illustrations to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and have taken on private commissions. However I would love to get into creating books – picture books, covers and overall book design. I am currently completing a bachelor of Visual Communication Design in furthering my illustration goals.

4. Who or what has influenced your work?

Identifying influences is like trying to identify each individual gene that makes me the person I am! But for the sake of diplomacy, a few of the illustrators that inspire me and inform my work are Shaun Tan, Oliver Jeffers, Anne Spudvilas, Stephen Michael King and Tina Burke.

5. What's your favourite media for creating pictures?

Wow, that’s another hard one! I vary the mediums I use significantly depending on the text, as I write both serious and funny stories. For more serious texts, I tend to work with many layers, using a combination of sketching, collage, acrylics, photography and digital art. For my more playful texts, I use ink and either water-colour or collage.

6. Do you experience illustrator's block - if so, what do you do about it?

Luckily for me, because I both write and illustrate, if I start to feel ‘stuck’ with one, I just move to the other. The only times I ever experience a block is if I try to begin a project too early, and haven’t let the idea grow enough in my head first. I tend to trust in my subconscious to solve any tricky problems, and find a long walk / drive usually does the trick – or sleeping on it (although try convincing a loved one that you are actually ‘working’ when heading off for a nap!).

7. What's the worst thing about being a freelancer?

Trying to independently build and sustain a career. The sense of isolation. A lack of external feedback encouraging you and letting you know you’re improving.

8. And the best?

Flexibility. Being able to run with my own ideas and creative energy. Knowing that I have found what drives me as a person and being able to pursue it.

9. What are you working on at the moment?

I am currently developing the illustrations for a picture book for slightly older readers, editing a middle-grade fantasy novel, and writing / illustrating an adventurous early chapter book text.

10. Where can we see more of your work?

Feel free to visit me on my website. I am always happy to receive e-mails – the people in this industry are so delightful!

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